09.23.13 10:57 PM ET
A Painter's Work Kills Him
For this second Monday selection from the Metropolitan Museum’s rehung Old Master galleries, I’ve chosen ”Alexander the Great Rescued from the River Cydnus”, an utterly obscure subject painted by Pietro Testa in Rome, probably in 1650. That’s the year Testa died, apparently a suicide who threw himself into the Tiber. There was a story that during his Persian campaign Alexander had some kind of fit as he bathed, and it looks as though that could have inspired Testa’s own tragic death. I wonder if any other artists have pretty much painted their own self-portrait in death, then made that picture come true.
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